donderdag 30 december 2010

A new toy for mama

As some of you might know, I am taking photography classes. I really like it and it is hard some times. Having a good photography eye is not something to be learned overnight. Can I learn? Well, let me believe I can. Here is something I tried these past days. I bought some extra lenses that you can turn on your big lens to get even closer to the subject. I LOVE it already!


Picture with my normal lens
Sigma 18-200 mm

With macro lens

This is going to be so much fun! For now, I'll put away the camera and do some old fashioned house work. But I'll Be Back!

dinsdag 28 december 2010

zaterdag 25 december 2010

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas my dear readers!

Today we had a good first Christmas day with family coming over for dinner. The sky was blue and now, as I am sitting here, writing, the snow comes falling from the sky again. It is so pretty! Adding to the pleasure is our warm house and cozy living room...I like winter, but I am not really into the cold that much.

These last days of the year also make me think of the year behind us. And man, what a year it has been! But even though I am looking back, I am more and more aware of how my heart attack has fueled some new things for the future. Nothing really dramatic, but I can tell there is something shifting inside. I can only feel it every now and then. When I am not too tired and not too afraid, or busy with trying new things, like working again.

I can tell that, after things get back to normal a bit, I have reached a new level. Not necessarily higher or lower, just a little different. I am way more aware of the fact that we have to live Now! That some people need (and let not spare myself: I need it too!) a kick in the butt sometimes! Good lord...all the worrying about all the little things...makes me impatient.
I can tell that I let the world hear my voice stronger than before. The people who know me, know that I am a bit introvert, sometimes a bit shy. These past weeks I found myself being a lot more assertive in stores for example. And the best part of it: without feeling too self-conscious or guilty of whatever. I feel like: who gives a &%$#!

Also I feel a lot less concerned about things needing to be a certain level. "Christmas dinner for 8 people?" "Let's keep it simple and easy". "Cleaning the house?" "A bit here and there will do!"
Perhaps it is because the articles and books about 'mindfulness' that I have been reading. Perhaps all the words are sinking into my subconscious and do some work there...I don't know. Fact is: I like life a lot better, living it the simple way.

That's also what this picture is about for me. I came upon this Maria statue on a cemetery here in my hometown. It reminds me of how we are all connected. I see a mother of ancient times and am reminded of the fact that there will be mothers in centuries to come. It is all about caring for each other, loving each other, loving life, living life, treasuring the small and the grant.

It tells me how we are all embedded in the great embrace of Being.

vrijdag 24 december 2010

vrijdag 17 december 2010

donderdag 16 december 2010

To do

Today, a picture. Not much inspiration to write, also because there is so much on my 'to-do' list. Would you like to know? Warning: it is pretty boring. But who knows? Publishing it might be enough to get myself going.

- Change the bed sheets, wash + dry
- Put away all clean clothes
- Organize closet in main bedroom
- Organize new bathroom cupboard
- Clean bathroom
- Organize closet Daughter 1
- Organize closet Daughter 2
- Get my brother a present
- Get the taxes done for Daughters daycare
- Think of Christmas menu
- And so on and so on......

I'll get back to you and let you know what I have finished.

woensdag 15 december 2010

Paris vs New York

These past weeks this site has been everywhere...I have seen it on so many websites. For those of you who haven't seen it: Check it out!!! I love all the art work on this site! They are so fun and clever. The artist comes up with new ideas very regularly, so it is worth visiting many times. Some of my favourites are (but I like all of them!):



dinsdag 14 december 2010

Amsterdam


Today, I went to Amsterdam all by myself, alone. I had been thinking about it for quiet some time, but always felt some fear. I still don't really like busy places like the train and the city itself is, although extremely beautiful, crowded.
But: I also wanted to buy us a Nativity Set. I had seen one years ago in the Abdij-store. This store is part of a monastery in Egmond which my mom and I wanted to visit for weeks. But our plan never really worked out due to all the snow we have had over here. So Amsterdam it was today.

How did I feel? Pretty good, as well as tired. I could barely imagine that I used to live in the city and liking/loving it. Nevertheless, I visited without much fear, without my hyperventilation. So I must say it was a pretty good trip!

The nativity set will be photographed later on.

zondag 12 december 2010

Sunday morning bliss


- Living room with Christmas tree
- Candles burning
- A nice cup of tea
- The rain against the windows
- A good book

- All by myself!!! :)

donderdag 9 december 2010

Weekly Menu # 2


Today was my grocery shopping day, no tompouce for myself this time, just didn't feel like it. Also because I have been a little ill with the flew the past couple of days. But as a reminder for myself and perhaps as some inspiration for my readers (Hi there!) I thought I'd write down another weekly menu. So here it is:

- Raw endive 'stampot' (my girls adore it!)
- Home made pizza
- Caprese salad with ?
- Spinach pie with goatcheese
- Cauliflower (I am going to search for a new recipe)

This doesn't make a full week, and I can make some more with the leftovers I have in the fridge. Sometimes I find it hard to come up with something nice to eat. And at the same time...I am not a real cook and I do try to bring some variations in our weekly menu, by switching between patatoes, pasta, rice and beans and couscous.

How do you deal with eating and having a busy life with jobs and perhaps children? I'd really like to know!

dinsdag 7 december 2010

Update on the medical story


December 8th: Let me give you an update on my life with an ICD. So far I am doing fine and besides the fatigue I am picking my life back up again. Slowly though, inch by inch, but it's like Confucius said: "A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step."

My ICD has been readout. Not much was found, although my heart rhythm is not always as it should be. Also the ventricles were not always at their best. So now I need to take a bit more medication. But over a time span of six weeks, my ICD registered something about ten times which is not bad. There have been three weeks were nothing was registered and everything was calm and quiet. We have also noticed that during stressful days my heart was more unstable than on calm days. So there must be some sort of relation between body and spirit.

The cardiologist said there is definitely a relationship, but it is not like: when you do yoga everyday you will never get an unstable heart. But relaxation and light exercise might give me a better feeling about myself and may help me to relax more often and be more aware of my body and my breathing.

They don't know yet what is the underlying reason for my heart attack. They are still thinking of the Long QT syndrome and they already know I don't have Long QT 2. At this moment they are checking out number 1 and number 3. All the others are probably not tested because they are super rare and also because other Long QT variations always come together with other physical failure. And so far I have been really healthy.

The rehabilitation doctor was very friendly and wanted to know how we are all coping with the recovery. A few weeks ago I was very down, almost depressed. I tried to deal with this by talking about it, writing about it in my journal and asking for help a lot more. This worked well and slowly this dark cloud started fading. The doctor was very encouraging, telling me that I am dealing with it in a very positive manner and telling me to go on, but take it slow.

Next week on Monday I am going to work for about two hours. Just once a week, to get started a bit. This scares me a bit, but it is also time for me to expand my world. Cuz sitting at home is also very safe. I am enjoying it immensely, but knowing about myself.....I need a kick in the butt sometimes! More about work in the coming weeks.

Blogging update at the hairdresser


December 7th: It is grey outside and foggy all over. I am warm and cozy with a Christmas tree in front me sitting at the hairdressers. Christmas? ....We just finished the Sinterklaas party here in Holland.

We were planning on celebrating Sinterklaas on saturday, but early in the morning it started snowing. I mean Snowing.... a good three inches in an hour or so. My brother was supposed to come over with his wife and son, but driving was getting impossible. So we changed our plans and celebrated Sinterklaas on Sunday. My four year old daughter, and firm believer of Sinterklaas, was totally fine with it. "Of course it is ok, there is too much snow for Sinterklaas to come over with all the presents!" Love that about children, they are so flexibel.

We had a nice and fun afternoon with lots and lots of presents which had to be opened as quickly as possible. She just couldn't wait to give the all the presents to everybody in the room. When we went home I asked her if she had a nice day: It was a super nice day!" "And did Sinterklaas get you nice presents?" "He gave me Super Nice presents!" She loved every minute of it!

By the way: this is the haircut I got! I always go for a 'bob' haircut. I goes well with my face, my very thick hair and the color. (My own!)

vrijdag 3 december 2010

Sinterklaas

Tomorrow, December 5th, is the real Sinterklaas day, but we celebrate his birthday today in the afternoon. It is one of my favorite holidays of the year, with Sinterklaas-songs, special food like Gevulde Speculaas and of course presents! I wonder what he will get me this year! I will let you know.

The one thing that hasn't worked out so well this year are the poems to join the presents. Previous years I loved writing poems for my family, but this year, I don't know if this is due to my accident, but my brain is not in the poetry mode. Oh well, I just let it go and try with fresh energy next year. But I do miss the thrill of finding the right words, the right twists, the right tone of voice. I just really like language, that's one of the reasons I like this blog.

P.s. I have been noticing that the dates on this blog are not always correct. As I post this, it is really December 4th!

donderdag 2 december 2010

Minimalism


I love those minimalistic, Japanese interiors. I also love Design Sponge, especially the 'sneak peaks' and the 'before and afters' they show on the site. So this week I was thrilled to see this lovely house of Yumiko Sekine. It is so natural, though not 'cold' at all. And I really like the color scheme and the feel of nature that this house breaths.

Like some of you might know we have a house that needed a total renovation and at the moment we are working on the bedroom. So far it still has unpainted walls and the carpet from the 70's.
I can't wait to make it 'ours', more modern, more Zen, more 'us'. Don't know if I can stick to the ultimate Zen bedroom like Sekine did, cuz I have this thing with color, but a mixture will work out well I guess. I am thinking about this wallpaper.

The lights for sure I am going to get at Kodama in Amsterdam.

Weekly morning routine


Now that I am home a lot more often I do all the groceries for the week ahead of us. I try to make some sort of weekly menu which saves me a lot of time and energy. We don't always stick to the menus, cuz I like being flexible when necessary.

This week we eat:

- Home made chicken soup
- Avocado/Potato/Rucola salad
- Chicory with ham and cheese and mashed potatoes
- Sprouts with home made meat balls
- Beets/Apple salad with fish
- Leek Pie with raisins and curry
- Stir fried vegetables with rice

Anyway: while doing the groceries I always go to the bakery and get a couple of loafs of bread. And one of these delicious 'tompouce' pastries. When I get home I make a latte to go with it and enjoy it in silence. Mmmm! Bon appetit!

woensdag 1 december 2010

Winter in Holland

Yep, my dear readers, this is what we call winter in Holland. Half an inch of snow and everybody is 'begeistert'. It's freezing about 7 degrees combined with a very strong wind from the east. This makes it feel like a good minus 15 outside. Brrr.... Time to stay inside as much as possible with latte and tea and 'speculaas'.

And this morning, after bringing my daughter to school, my hair was frozen! I guess there is a first time for everything.

dinsdag 30 november 2010

Final 2010 challenge

Blogging is fun to do, I have noticed, but it is also hard and sometimes it feels like "Posting? Oh no! Another thing on my to-do-list!" And to-do-lists can make me feel stressful and that is THE one thing I need to avoid in order to keep my heart in healthy condition. But, being inspired by a good friend of mine, I decided to challenge myself by blogging every day. I can do this the official way, by joining NaBloPoMo, but I guess I prefer a more low profile challenge for now and do this my own way.

The kick off? A whole lot of color to brighten up the darker days we have been having over here!


Can you tell I am trying to figure out my new camera? So far I love my Canon 550 D.

donderdag 28 oktober 2010

Meeting my rescuer: Part two


A few days ago, I got a pleasant visit from another rescuer: a Motor Cop who was at the scene very quickly. He was wondering about how I was doing so he drove by for a little visit. I must say: I really appreciated this. He told me he had done CPR many, many times before, but my story was one he kept thinking about. Simply because I am so young, with two small children.

Another part of the story apparently keeps a lot of people wondering: During CPR I kept coming back to life a little. My skin tone got a lot better and my pupils grew larger and smaller. Nobody seems to understand why this happened and what this all means. Perhaps I need to ask my cardiologist.

What's important for me, is to feel, really feel, how many people cared for me. Worked their best for me! It gives me (extra) faith in human kind!

dinsdag 26 oktober 2010

donderdag 21 oktober 2010

Meeting my rescuer

A couple of days ago I met one of my rescuers. I had been told that two people did CPR on me, a man and a woman (B.). I met the woman this Tuesday evening.

I had thought a lot about the people who were there when it all happened. Because we live in a pretty small town I realized that we could all run into each other in the city center. One of the first days I spent by myself I went for a walk. This woman came up to me saying she was so glad I made it. I didn't recognize her, but it turned out she works in the hospital bringing food to all the patients. She had seen me for a few days and heard my story and was really impressed. It was really good to talk to her and to be able to get a fuller picture for myself.

The man (a volunteer fire fighter) who helped me told the police that he was alright with the situation and he didn't feel the need for further contact. The woman agreed to meet me right away. It was so good to see her. It wasn't emotional or anything, a little awkward perhaps, but really nice. She told me about how she had taken first aid classes for years, also because she works at a daycare. She was so grateful to have been able to use her knowledge. But she also knew only 9% of the people who get CPR this way make it alive. For her it was really important to see me, to know I am alright. Last week we passed each other biking, at exactly the place of my accident, but she didn't want to stop me then. And I didn't recognize her yet.
(Funny thing: for both of us it was the first time we biked by The place!)

The evening of my accident she was a little late when she left work. She jumped on her bike and passed me just a few minutes after I fell. A guy (E.J.) who was on the scene first knew her pretty well so they (and a few more people) were talking about what to do. She then noticed I stopped breathing and started doing CPR right away. Then the fire fighter came out of nowhere and, almost like a team of professionals, they all did what they had to do. How lucky can you get?!

B. and I talked about how strange it is to be brought together by something like this. She is my age. We could be friends. She saved my life! I tried to say thank you. She tried to say your welcome. But words couldn't express what we felt.

I realized that she was with me during a very intimate moment in my life. There are just very few moments like this. When things are (literally) naked. Touching the fundamental things in life. I felt like this when I gave birth. But being close to someone dying is also very intimate.
I remember when my grandfather was on his deathbed; we only talked about things that really matter in life. All the unnecessary words, feelings and emotions just withdrew.

I also realize that life goes on. I can't always think about the accident or about how lucky I have been or about how there have been angels all around me that day.
Today one of my best friends came over and we barely talked about the accident. We talked (during a fantastic lunch) about our children and the upcoming birth of her second girl. It was great! Slowly and step by step I am moving forward!

dinsdag 19 oktober 2010

My clever girl


Us, standing in front of a construction site. "Mom, what does this sign mean?" "Well, that's a little guy working so it means we have to watch out for men who are at work here. We have to watch were we are walking."

"Mom, where are the signs that say 'Women at work?', cuz women also work!"

My clever 4 year old! That's why I LOVE being her mother!

donderdag 7 oktober 2010

Photography class: Part # 1

Yesterday I started a photography class here in my hometown. Loved it! The teacher breathes photography and is going to teach us tons of technical stuff, but also tells all about composition and visualizing etc. He is definitely the right teacher for me.
This is the first picture I brought into the group to be evaluated....pretty exciting to see what everybody had done. Even more exciting to hear what they thought of my picture....they loved it!

Here it is to share with all of you! My daughter E. playing with my necklace.

donderdag 30 september 2010

Just a few words

Today, five weeks ago, I got a heart attack. I survived, but she did not. Just a few houses down the road she was a mother like I am. With two kids, just like us. With a husband, family, friends, just like us. With an insanely beautiful house, just....not like us, not yet anyway.
A few words to commemorate her.

Last year on October 18th I told my husband that I would test drive the car we got for a few months from my parents in law. So I drove around a little only to return an hour later, with the street full of police cars and ambulances. We didn't think that much of it; probably some people who got drunk and in a fight while going to a club or so....

A few days later my friend L. was over for a nice afternoon with latte's and talks when we saw a funeral procession going by the house. It made us fall silent for a while and talk about life and death a little. Then the 'home town newspaper' fell on the doormat and then it hit me.
She died. I didn't know her personally, but her name was almost like mine. Her age almost like mine. Her living situation almost like mine. And it gave me a lump in my throat. I thought about her quiet often during the weeks following the news.

Fast forward to late august of this year when I hit the pavement. Tons of people sent me cards and came to visit. So did my lovely aunt and uncle last week.
We were having coffee and were talking about the whole situation when my aunt started telling about this woman she met a few weeks earlier. Her husband and my uncle (and a bunch of other people) used to study together in the 60's and 70's and once a year they meet for a day. This woman told my aunt that her daughter had passed away last year, all of sudden, just gone in her sleep.
My aunt mentioned her name. Mentioned her age. It made me hear an alarm bell in my head, so I told her about the woman in my street. After which it all turns out we were talking about the same person. And it also turns out that she probably had the same kind of condition that I am having. Probably, because the doctors can't test her to be sure.

The past few days I have been thinking about her again a lot more. Trying to grasp our stories. She died. I didn't. That kind of stuff. But I can't grasp it. It is as it is. I wrote her a letter in my journal this afternoon. A letter from a mother to a mother, a wife to a wife, a woman to a woman. I think I don't really believe in a plan from above. In something 'meant to be'. Like 'she left us for a reason'. And if so it must have been involuntarily.

I will try to live my life to the fullest. Do the best I can. And to think about her every now and then. Her story makes me remind myself of the fact that there was an angel on my shoulder. That whatever is out there didn't want me yet. That I am given some extra days on this planet. GRATEFUL is how I feel!!!

dinsdag 28 september 2010

Update: life with an ICD

Quiet a few people ask me how I am doing after my heart attack. Thank God I can honestly say that I am doing better and better every day. The tiredness is slowly going away, so I have more energy to do some fun things in and around the house. Like decorating a bit and making photo-albums of my two girls.

Last week I had another EEG of my brain (I didn't look like the guy in the picture though). It was hard for the assistant to get all the electrodes in the right place due to my very thick hair. I helped along as good as I could and we had a bit of a laugh about it all. At first glance they told me it looked alright and I am seeing a neurologist about this matter in a few weeks.

A few days before there was a meeting with the rehabilitation doctor. I had a million question to answer about whether I felt over emotional or the opposite etc. He said I am doing extremely well considering the time between the accident and the appointment with him. I just gotta ' keep calm and carry on' and see how I am doing as I go along.

I also had a talk with the medical officer about getting started at work. He was very reasonable which made me feel a lot more relaxed. I had been dreaming about this doctor being a total jerk wanting me to get started full time right away. We decided to meet at October 25th and then from there on see what I going to do.

In the meantime I am enjoying all the lovely cards I got. The second chance there is for me in life. Now that the 'cloud of tiredness' is gone (almost) I feel the need to dive into books, to indulge in ancient wisdom, to cherish good conversations with friends and with strangers, to embrace life as it comes my way. To WRITE. I need to write a lot more!!! I say this in CAPITAL letters to remind myself what I seem to forget to easily!
Talk to you later!

donderdag 16 september 2010

Thanks: Hennessy Family!!!

This morning I went to the hairdresser first. After that I bought some magazines and went to the thrift store. Getting myself some nice stuff. Treat myself so that I feel alive and loved.
But all these little presents can not compete with the best present I got today: a big bunch of flowers from my lovely Australian friends! Love you guys! Thanks a lot!!! Thinking of you with very fond memories!

zondag 12 september 2010

Little update about my life....after

I have been home for more than a week and I am doing pretty ok. Feeling very tired is sometimes hard, but when I just keep things calm things are fine. My wound has healed very nicely and the ICD is hard to notice in my body. So I am not complaining.

I have been thinking a lot about what has happened. Michiel, my husband, told me more and more about the evening and about the first night after my heart attack. That was hard to hear. Apparently I looked a bit epileptic and I didn't recognize anyone. Can you imagine? It drives me pretty crazy, knowing that he has seen me like that. That my mom has been standing by my bed, not knowing whether I would make it till the next day. Not knowing if I could ever talk or walk again. Michiel told me that at one point he just had to leave the room. I feel so sorry for him! It must have been horrible. Then I think about my mom, hearing the news and racing to the hospital. Not knowing what she would see. She and my brother has been there as well. Oh my God! Thinking about it makes me cry!

Am I weird about thinking more about my mom in the first place than about my children? They could have lost their mother, which drives me insane thinking about it. But my mother could have lost her child, that makes me so incredibly emotional. Thinking about one of my daughters in the hospital, me standing by their bed, not knowing about what is going on.......it must be the hardest thing in life to loose a child. Thank God I am still here! I feel very blessed! But I don't have this ' I am going to change my life around ' kinda feeling (yet).

Maybe I just shouldn't watch my feelings so much and just take them as they come my way. We went to the neurologist and she said that my brain will be healing for about a year. She also advised me to take things slow. Tomorrow we will see a cardiologist. So more information comes soon.

Thanks for all the wonderful e-mails! Love to hear from you all!

dinsdag 7 september 2010

The day my life changed forever

Well, my life did change forever on thursday august 26th. Let me tell you how.

I had worked all day and went home to pick up the kids from daycare. We have a 'bakfiets', which is a bike with a large wooden bucket in which the kids sit. I was biking home and everything went well. Until I woke up in the hospital a few days later.

Apparently I had a heart attack (can you believe it? I just turned 36?!).
Anyhow, I was very lucky that the moment we fell, there were some people who knew how to do CPR. They started immediately and called the police and the ambulance. They were at the scene very quickly and I was rushed to the hospital. I was in IC for two days during which they couldn't really tell what was going on. There were moments when I didn't recognize my husband and I was just screaming and pulling out needles because I wanted to leave. Thank God, after a day I woke up feeling much better and much to everyones relieve I could still talk and walk and move in proper ways. A little bit of my short term memory has been lost, but everyday it gets better. I can read a book now and remember what's in it.

After I was stable, I was brought to a normal room in the hospital. A few days later I was brought to the AMC Hospital in Amsterdam, where they installed an ICD. The next day I went home, with a few appointment in my agenda for the next weeks. The doctors think I have a Long QT Syndrome, which is hereditary. But no-one in my family died young. On the contrary, everybody gets really old. So we'll just have to wait and see. They are doing an extensive genetic analysis.

I feel extremely calm and quiet inside. Sometimes wondering: is this ok? Shouldn't I be crying about my life almost lost? I guess psychologically it comes at it's own speed. I am not scared about all the emotions, but it seems now, that everyone around me is a lot more emotional than I am. Perhaps when things calm down a little, that my emotions will flow.

For now, I am very tired. So I sleep a little after lunch. Today I am going to town, a 15 walk all by myself. Nobody home today, just me, myself and I. Going to have some lunch in a cafe. Enjoying the wind in my hair and the fact that I can sit there by myself.

But I am grateful! VERY GRATEFUL! About the second change I got!

vrijdag 13 augustus 2010

A thought of wonder

"It is worth a lot to become more aware of our relationship with 'time'. Especially with what it costs to be so attached to using our time in the most efficient way." (In Dutch: Het is de moeite waard ons bewust te zijn van onze relatie met tijd, vooral van wat het ons kost om te veel gehecht te zijn aan efficiƫnt tijdgebruik.)

I read this sentence this week on the lovely site from Flow-Magazine. (Love the magazine and all the stuff they make!). Anyway: the sentence struck me, because I have to admit that inside of me there is this 'person'. I guess it's a She. She's kinda nice, but also kinda strict. She's pretty concerned with how other people think of her. She is especially outspoken about how the household needs to be done. How tidy it must be, how clean and all. How I can use my time very efficiently!

My grandmother knew her well, my mother knows her very well, and my stepmother doesn't know who she is apart from her. So it is not just a genetic thing, probably a lot has to do with upbringing. But she is here sometimes, looking a bit like this:

Wanting me to be like this:

But often I try and find myself to be like this:


Even though I worry quiet often: "do I spend enough time with my children? Is my daughter infected with the household virus by now or do I have some time left to change things around? What do I want to teach her when growing up? What does she see when she looks at me?" Both my daughters can play very well on their own.
On the one hand, I see this as a good thing. They feel comfortable with themselves and can concentrate easily and always find something to do, even if it is just moving their hands through the sand watching the clouds. (Mmmm, can you remember what that felt like when you were little? It felt so good, those endless days and skies.).
On the other hand I wonder whether they withdraw in their own world, cuz mommy is busy cleaning. Like this afternoon: my (almost) 4 year old and I just played one game. This made me feel guilty. I do try to draw her into helping me. This afternoon it worked well, because she wants to be Cinderella when she grows up. "And Cinderella cleaned a lot before she met her prince!" Honestly her words, not mine!

It is hard for me to keep calm. To notice the 'voice' inside of me and accept her. Not to be mistaken with agreement. I find myself sometimes literally talking to 'her'. "I hear you, and yes it is a mess, and yes my mother would never have such a household, but I am not my mother, and I try to be more 'in the moment' and play with my children." Slowly and reluctantly she accepts my arguments. She is relaxing a bit every now and then. But God, this process is hard!!!!

So what does it cost me? The need for efficiency?
  1. it costs me the ability to 'stay in the moment'
  2. it costs me the ability to really feel. Whether it is the wind or some restlessness or whatever, it can be anything, but at least it is real!
  3. it costs me the ability to lean back, to just kick back, and experience time a lot more like my kids do.
  4. it costs me the ability to just loaf around (lantefanteren in Dutch) and ENJOY IT!
I will remind myself of this the next couple of weeks. So that I, my daughters and 'her' can all kick back and relax and have a good laugh!

donderdag 12 augustus 2010

The first step on my new journey

Just a few minutes ago I send in my application for the ZKM-coach training! Wow! I did it! It has been a dream of mine to start with some kind of education in the field of the inner journey of people. God, this feels so good!

These past days I have been reading a book about Narrative Therapy from Michael White. Also very inspiring!

Oh well, not much to say, there are more feelings than words at the moment! But I will write about it soon and will let you in on (part of) the journey that I will travel.

dinsdag 3 augustus 2010

Complete!

My Arabia Pomona series that remind me of my grandparents everyday. They had three of these jars: a strawberry one, a blueberry one (the one you see in the middle) and the one with the bees you see on the lower right side. They used to keep all different kinds of 'Hagelslag' in them.

Dark pure chocolate, colorful sugar sprinkles and the white anise version. (My favorite) They had all the jars, together with lots of other stuff to put on our bread, on this large tray that you could spin around. It was like that for years and years and forever etched in my memory. Together with eating our bread from the yellow plates.

A few years before they died, they started asking what we, the grandchildren, wanted to have once they had passed. Without hesitation I mentioned the jars. Years later my grandmother, who lived alone by then, had cleaned them and packed them for me one day. They were waiting for me at the dinner table. I could tell that for her it was hard to say goodbye to them. Saying goodbye to one of many traditions. But for me it was wonderful to receive them directly from her. 'Thanks so much grandma!'

After she passed it took me a while to found out the name of the jars and the series. But once I found them I decided to collect them and now, almost two years later the series is complete. By the way I do not collect the jugs, mugs, plates etc. For those of you interested, I got mine all from Marktplaats. A Dutch kind of E-bay/Craigslist.

The jars represent very fond memories of the past and their 60's patterns are cheerful and fun to watch everyday.

zaterdag 31 juli 2010

Can any mother help me?

Just finished reading the book! In English the title is: 'Can any mother help me?', in Dutch it is 'Het geheime tijdschrift' (the secret magazine), which, honestly, I like better.

This book is a non-fiction book about a group of highly educated women in the 1920-1930 and later, who started writing to keep their intellect sharp and running and who were looking for some entertainment, to kill their loneliness. They all wrote articles that they sent to one person. That person made a nice cover and bound everything together and sent it to woman number 1. This woman commented on all the articles and then sent it to woman number 2 etc.
In their letters they shared whatever was important in their lives. Husband, kids, houses, the war, sexuality, the need for intellectual challenges etc.

I LOVED reading about their lives, about how different it all was back then. How difficult it must have been for them; to be bound at home after marriage, whereas they first roamed the streets of Oxford and Cambridge. In the book a lot of letters are published, together with short biographies about the lives of a lot of women. It makes me want more, because so many questions are left unanswered. Probably all women can fill a book with stories about their lives. But can't we all?.

I wonder why I love reading historical books, non-fiction books. Perhaps the answer is simple: because it makes me realize again that we are all the same in a way. Even though we live different lives in different eras and countries.
Reading this book helped me realize what a good live I can live these days. For example, in the book there is this woman who 'falls in love' with her doctor. The doctor then decides to talk to her husband, who doesn't sound like a warm and caring person (but of course we only read her side of the marriage), and this consultation leads her to get electroshocks, because 'there must be something wrong with her'. Like she is some hysterical creature or something. These days there is so much (too much?) attention for 'the inner person'. For this woman the year 2010 may have been a lot better.

But this also makes me think of this. Lets fast forward 75 years. My grandchildren will also think like: 'What?! Grandmother Marije didn't have this and this and this?! Unbelievable!' It is hard for me to really understand how, for example my grandmother lived, and it is hard (if not impossible) as well, to have a certain idea of how my grandchildren will live. I guess all of us, in the year 2010, just try to make it all work, make the best of it.

But don't you just LOVE the idea of time traveling? I wish I could! Where would you go and who do you want to meet? A question to be answered later! Take care AND READ THE BOOK!

zaterdag 17 juli 2010

1 Year Old

My sweet little Miss E! Yesterday was your first birthday! We hope you will have many, many, many more years ahead of you to celebrate! Hopefully we will be there to celebrate with you, cuz what a joy it is to be your mother/your parent. You are super sweet. We thought that your big sister Miss M. was open and calm and easy to handle, but you are even more easy going. We feel super super blessed. And what is great about having children: it makes everybody step into this energy of love and laughter and care which unites us all. I, as your mother, hope that you feel it too and that it will be part of you all your life. Like a battery that fuels you every time you need it.
Becoming a mother is the best thing that ever happened to me and I am so looking forward to the journey that lies ahead of all of us. Love you!

zaterdag 10 juli 2010

Torn between two...

To all the mothers out there...I have a question. Do you also have the experience of being torn between being a mother and loving it many, many times and (on the other hand) feeling a drive to do more (creative things, reading, meeting friends, getting another job, doing a year in coaching people). Honestly, I feel torn quiet often. I wonder why the feeling of restlessness is so hard to deal with.

I think part of it has to do with the fact that I have such a vivid imagination. I daydream a lot and in my dreams things mostly go smooth and easily. But everyday life is a lot more challenging in the sense that is calls for a more ' zen' / ' living the now' attitude. My coach pointed out to me that I have very high expectations for myself, so high, that almost always, there is only one result: failure. In the sense that I can never meet those expectations because they are unrealistic. One big lesson in life for me is learning to take small steps, to treasure them and enjoy them and not think to much about all the other things I would love to do and experience. A lot of small steps take me a long way.

Another thing that makes me restless is the fact that since I am a mother I became a lot more aware of the fact that I am mortal. This may sound serious or scary to some people, but it is in my awareness and is hard to ignore. It makes me realize that there are as many lives to be lived as there are people on this planet. We are all different and all one at the same time. We can't have it all. Not that I want to have it all, that's not it. Being aware of my mortality puts me on the ground with both my feet. Makes me feel humble. Makes me feel like we are all just a drop in the ocean. It makes me crazy, scared and gives me the feeling of: 'this is it'. And when I let it sink in a while and embrace all the feelings that are there, in the end almost alway I feel grateful I can say: thank you, it's ok, my life is good!

A while ago, I bought a book called Voluit Leven, it is a Dutch book on mindfulness and it is really good. It is all about saying YES to everything in life, the good, the bad and the ugly. Maybe I should do all the exercises more often, just to keep me grounded, to keep me feeling connected to the world and the people in it. One of the little steps in keeping myself connected is to call the people of the ZKM school that I want to participate in. I 'll keep you all informed. LOVE!

zaterdag 3 juli 2010

Favorite things Saturday

My friend Miss J. from the USA inspired me with her Favorite Things Friday. I love how she always comes up with original stuff and things I have never heard of or seen before.
Me, I haven't figured out how I can make such a nice collage like hers, but non the less I feel like making my favorite things Saturday.

1) HEMA Stationary
One of my favorite stores of all time has new stationary lines each year for the new school year. Every year it is such a treat to go there and buy some stuff (that I don't need at all) but that I love, Love, LOVE!


2) Toilet accessories
As some of you know we bought a house from 1926 that was last rebuilt in the early 70's. You know, green tiles, wood on every wall and lovely retro curtains.
Fun? Yes, at first sight! Not so much at second sight. For example: the only pipes that were attached to the sewer were the toilets (thanks for that), so we had a bit of wetness problem. Anyway, thanks to my fantastic husband and father in law, we now reached the point were all the plumbing is done and all the pipes and wires are fixed! On to the fun part, buying new stuff to decorate! What fun it is to look for stuff, to combine stuff, and to spend money! Let it roll!

3) Lovely kitchen fabrics
Another thing I love (besides the love for ceramics I inherited from my mother) are textiles. The Hema kitchen towels are pretty good, but I want to buy some specials ones as well. I love the birds from Ferm Living or the beautiful line Surya by Simrin.
But I also love these ones from Etsy:







From left to right:
AMS Industries
Giardino
Twiddle and Tweet
Red Wren Design

Well I can go on and on about all the beautiful stuff I've seen on Etsy, but I'll leave it for now. Time to go to bed and dream some more about decorating!

zaterdag 26 juni 2010

Meme

I love reading blogs about women who live in Paris. I love reading about their lives and it brings the city I love the most a little closer to the flat land of Holland that I live in. So today, while reading the blog of An Alien Parisienne, I came across this meme. And I have a thing with lists.... so here I go.

1. What is happiness for you?
How many pages can I fill? Endless.....such a hard question, and easy at the same time...

Happiness is being with my two girls (almost 4 and almost 1), seeing them discover the world, language, their bodies, the range of emotions, asking me questions all day long, their total enthusiasm, their laughter, their jokes.
Happiness is also feeling stronger and stronger about going the path that my soul is telling me to go. So today I went to Groesbeek (Holland) to check out about a course on the ZKM (or in English "Dialogical Science") and I can tell that this is the way for me.....my guts are very clear.

2. What is your favorite memory of childhood?
The feeling of endless time, of being in touch with the world, my dreams, my fantasies, the feeling of total flow. I literally believed I could fly. Sky High!

3. Do you like the book Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert?
Honestly, I started reading with a bit of restraint. Too popular, too shallow? But I gotta say I quiet liked it. Her writing was sometimes funny, her journey many times interesting (even though as an officially trained "philosopher" I have some doubts and questions here and there), and her love story, although a bit too much "blue-lagoon", many times entertaining during the warm summer nights we have been having the past days.

4. What do you think is the worst social problem facing the country in which you are living now?
We just had elections and this fellow 'Wilders' won tons of extra votes. He has some nasty thoughts on Islam and is very short sighted. People from the government are now trying very hard NOT to get him in our government, which makes the guy angry, and all the people who voted for him. Honestly, I don't care that much about him. What does make me worry is that apparently thousands and thousands of people like what he says. Are those my fellow citizens? Really? How in the world can they agree with the stuff he says.

5. If you like pizza, what are your favorite toppings?
Love it: pepperoni + veggies

6. What’s your favorite holiday?
City trip to Paris! :) The trip we took to Tibet came close to favorite, but camping in the south of France comes close to the title as well....the smell of lavender, the markets, the peaches...mmmmm

7. Who is the most annoying celebrity? Why?
The Olsen Twins? Cuz everytime they look like they just cried a million tears and not know how to grow up. Much more interesting are my favorite celebrities: Cate Blanchett, cuz she is stunningly beautiful and a fantastic actress. Or Benicio del Toro: don't you love the way he walks? Or Julie Delpy for making the fun film: 2 days in Paris. Or the writer Kader Abdolah, cuz he fled from Iran, learned Dutch and lifted our language up to a magical level...and...and...and...

8. Is it better to be physically attractive or intelligent?
Experiment 1) PA? Yes please, but in addition having boring conversations, no humor, no development, no sense of perceptiveness...? No Thanks!
Experiment 2) I? Yes please, but in addition not a six pack, beautiful large eyes, bright straight teeth or whatever is attractive? Ok, there are limitations, there needs to be some PA, but to me Intelligence can be a total turn on!
Conclusion: Intelligent is the winner, but physical attractiveness not the entire loser.

9. City or countryside? ‘Splain.
Used to live in Amsterdam for 15 years and LOVED it. Now in a much smaller town, close to the countryside and I LOVE it. For now, countryside wins. With my two girls, having a much bigger house, having a garden to have dinner in, having farmers to go to and see the cows, sheep and goats. But, when the kids have moved out (please not now) and when we made a bit of money....a nice apartment near one of the 'Negen Straatjes' will be hard to resist. (And of course, in addition, a little studio in Paris for the weekends)

10. What do you really think about memes like these?
I like them, they make me think and dream about certain things again. Plus, they are a nice 'writing assignment', on days when inspiration for blogging is hard to find.

I will think of some questions myself in the near future.

maandag 14 juni 2010

Birth of a mother

Almost four years ago, when I became a mother the first time, it hit me hard. My deepest me was touched in a way that I could never have imagined. There was a moment during labor that I felt like I was travelling with dazzling speed through one of those worm-holes in the universe. Spinning round and round to another dimension, to an unknown land far away from everything I had ever known. It was thrilling and exciting and scaring at the same time.

And then there she was, all soft and warm and beautiful and the pond with emotions of love and responsibility opened wide and abundant, never to be closed again. The weeks after her birth were very difficult. (Loosing one and a half liter of blood and having hormones rushing through my veins didn’t help.) Not at all because of baby, little M. She was super adorable and sweet and a champ drinker and sleeper. What made it difficult was the birth of me as a mother. My soul was re-born! And I can tell you: it wasn’t a slow and easy birth. Every vessel in my body was turned inside out and upside down.
  • Something inside woke up and is still awake even when I am sleeping
  • A lion was unleashed inside of me, ready to tear everything and everybody if needed
  • The gearwheels of (coping) mechanisms came to a sudden stop, new ones had to be re-invented
  • My baby became, what Levinas calls, 'the Other', who’s simple being did an appeal on me that I could and can never ignore and walk by without responding.
  • ………in so many more ways my life got so much better by becoming a mother….the best experience ever in my life.

And then, in the darkest hours during this ‘birth’, this poem fell on my doormat, by Michael Leunig.

God be with the mother.
As she carried her child may she carry her soul.
As her child was born, may she give birth and life and form to her own, higher truth.
As she nourished and protected her child, may she nourish and protect her inner life and her independence.
For her soul shall be her most painful birth, her most difficult child and the dearest sister to her other children.

Amen.

woensdag 9 juni 2010

Digital journal

I guess you could say that writing is as natural as the air I breath. Even though I don't do it as often as wanted (and needed!). But as soon as the alphabet made sense to me, the words started flowing on paper. Reading through them (every now and then) makes me realize how much I need to express my thoughts. When not shared on paper or in words, face to face, something inside is making me restless. Nervous, losing ground, losing connection; to my inner voice, to the people and world around me.

Do you know those people who can e-mail one or two sentences and that's it? Not me! E-mailing with friends is like writing chapters of books. Friend L. and I have writing well....about 5oo pages so far...and friend H. and I decided to write postcards and letters by hand sending them by old fashioned mail. Both so valuable!

So why a blog? Because writing for just me, myself and I feels a bit lonely. And I don't want to 'bomb' my two ' writing friends' with all the stuff I want to say. Writing for and with someone just feels so much better. I am in need of connecting! Keeps me sharp, gives me purpose, exercises the mind. So here is a start.

And alas...I am not creative (but will write about creative people often), not a great cook or gardener or sewer, I guess you can say there is a pretty serious side to me, tests showed I am quiet introvert (INFJ), and I can't take great pictures (yet)! But still I hope to connect with some nice people through this blog. Like meeting pen-pals in the 80's. Mine lived in Hong Kong, Russia, United States and Holland. Were did yours come from?

Started: Finally!

Yes! I did it! Finally started a blog.
The idea was roaming in my head for quiet a while and this afternoon while my baby is sleeping and my toddler is painting...here I am! My first babysteps into cyberspace. Sharing thoughts with other people over the world.

My goal? To meet with other people to start with. Women out there who love motherhood, but who are also deep and sensitive thinkers. Who wonder about life in general, their kids and deeper subjects of the soul. Of personal growth.

To be honest: I am not a native English speaker. So please excuse me for my (not to perfect) English. But by writing in English I would like to expand my range of readers.

I am thrilled to have started on this journey: and we all know it is the journey that matters and not so much the final destination. Wisdom can be found walking the way.